Michigan Republicans call on state to investigate use of nursing homes as care facilities

Gretchen Whitmer admits there were missteps in plan

Members of Congress are requesting Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel -- in addition to other states -- to investigate how nursing homes were used during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

LANSING, Mich. – In a new letter to Attorney General Dana Nessel, each of Michigan’s congressional Republicans called on the state of Michigan to investigate its use of nursing homes as care centers for recovering COVID-19 patients.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have accounted for more than 1 in 5 coronavirus deaths here in Michigan and have become a major point of contention within the state.

Signing with five other leading congressional Republicans who sit on the House Subcommittee on the coronavirus, they demanded answers about why the state ignored advice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which warned not to release COVID patients into long-term care.

In a tweet, Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said, “families who lost loved ones deserve answers. This tragedy was avoidable.”

Early this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer admitted there were missteps in the plan but said the decision to allow COVID patients into highly vulnerable places was based on science.

“I think if we could go back in a time machine and do some things differently,” she said “There are things we would improve upon, but every action we took was based on the best science and the best information available to protect people and save lives.”

Health experts agreed with Whitmer’s plan said there needed to be more help from the federal government for nursing homes and better hygiene inside facilities.

“It got even grimmer in COVID-19 because while we were all worried about who’s got the protective gear, who’s got the training, nobody went into the nursing homes and gave them anything,” Arthur Caplan, Head of the Medical Ethics Division told Local 4 Defender Karen Drew this past week. Caplan called the lack of federal response the nation’s “biggest failure” during the pandemic.

So far, Nessel has not commented on whether she would open an investigation or comply with the demands from those members of congress. Letters were also sent to New York, New Jersey, California and Pennsylvania. Each of those states are led by Democrats who have verbally sparred with President Donald Trump during the crisis.

READ: Michigan Gov. Whitmer admits flaws in controversial COVID-19 nursing home policy

About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.